Country: Dominican Republic
Sector/Issues: Local Governance - budgeting process, access to information and local service delivery (education, housing, W&S, small and medium-scale agriculture)
Executing Agency: Fundación Intermón Oxfam
Grant Amount: $727,984
Closing Date: 2018
The Government of the Dominican Republic (GoDR) has adopted reforms to improve both the transparency of public budgeting and financial management, and the accountability of public services. In the mid-2000s, GoDR officials approved laws on public sector budgeting, financial administration, procurement, and access to information, which established frameworks for citizen participation in governance. In addition, GoDR officials committed to transparency and accountability in an Action Plan produced as part of the recently launched Caribbean Growth Forum.
However, citizens and civil society organizations (CSOs) in the Dominican Republic have not yet realized their full potential to participate in governance matters, including the national budget, as well as budgets and services in key development sectors. Public agencies did not fully recognize CSOs as channels for citizen input, and CSOs lacked the skills to mobilize citizens, develop and apply social accountability (SA) tools, and negotiate and advocate for their interests among local and national agencies.
Fundación Intermón Oxfam, a non-governmental organization focusing on poverty and human rights, received a GPSA grant to strengthen the transparency and accountability of government services, particularly to help CSOs and citizens participate in the national budget process, and in the budget and services in water, sanitation, education, and agriculture. This grant supports three components aiming to: 1) establish a macro-level “observatory” permitting CSOs and citizens to analyze, monitor, and provide feedback on the national budget and service delivery; 2) establish thematic “observatories” in education, agriculture, and water and sanitation, and support SA tools and activities offering citizens more voice and impact; and 3) build capacity of CSOs and social movements to analyze public information, and capture and disseminate lessons with broader stakeholders in the Dominican Republic.
Within project areas, this grant is expected to increase citizen satisfaction with public administration and lead to improvements in public services. Key results and milestones will include:
Establishment of the macro-observatory on the national budget, and three observatories in water, education, and agriculture.
Training of 234 men and 265 women on the national budget cycle and the Organic National Budget Law.
Increase in the share of citizens exercising their rights to petition for national budget information, and an increase in budget information disseminated by the Executive branch. Production of six reports on the national budget.
Increase in the share of citizens in project areas aware of their basic rights in education, housing, and agriculture from 63% to 70%.
Training of 112 men and 127 women in the observatories on social auditing techniques (e.g., citizen qualification cards, community reports, public spending surveys), and the application of these techniques in project areas
Four Action Plans completed between citizens and service providers to improve public services.
The grant is at its early stages and lessons will be added as they become available. However, Intermón Oxfam builds on the lessons learned from its previous work, mainly in leveraging access on information laws to implement social auditing methods such as citizen monitoring at the municipal level.